Posts filed under ‘Recommendations’

Cultural playdates at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston!

It turns out the MFA has monthly playdates (last Friday of every month except February) for kids under 4! A pretty incredible thing, given that most institutions of its caliber typically feature events for older kids, leaving parents of toddlers wondering how they can possibly see any art while their littler walker/runner tears around, coming dangerously close to priceless statues, etc. There’s a read-aloud story time, followed by a short tour and activities.

Info about the next MFA Playdate

Theme: Latin-themed stories and activities as a part of the MFA Fiesta celebration.

Time: Friday, March 25 · 10:30am – 11:30am

Location: MFA Boston – Meet at the Sharf Visitor Center.

Admission: Free with Admission – No Ticket Required.

Additional Info:  This program is for accompanied children 4 and younger. No registration required.

The most up-to-date info is on the Museum’s Facebook page.

Hope to see some of you there!

March 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

Keeping your relationship sparkly after baby

I must be more sleep-deprived than I thought. And that’s just with one child. I dread the kind of stuff I’ll forget when our second arrives. I sort of get that whole “I’m more proud of the Oscar my kid earned in Little Gym class than my own achievements” parenting symptom – but I never really wanted to be that selfless.

I was so excited when this happened. So proud. So amused at what my writing looks like in the UK! (Guy became bloke, mom became mum – things just started looking cleverer.) And then I forgot to share it.So, with a typical two-month mom-delay, I present a link to my spice-up-your-relationship-post-baby advice on’s G-Spot (haha! who thought that anatomical wonder would make it to this G-rated site ;).

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Check out Romantic Mum & Dad here!

February 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

Cool, whimsical and original kid room art

Last year, as I made my way through the chaos that is Manhattan’s Union Square, I had to stop when I saw a stand with what I think is some of the sweetest, coolest and kid-friendliest art out there. Seeing my reaction, my best friend bought me a print of this giraffe:

It now hangs above my son’s crib and – I don’t exaggerate – instills a surprising sense of calm and well-being despite it’s letter-sized dimensions.

The other day, my love for Kristiana Parn’s art (which, it turns out, you don’t have to go to Union Square to find, but can simply get on the fabulous was rekindled when, much to my amazement, I found her prints are now for sale at my favorite local children’s bookstore, Book Culture‘s Children’s Room (downstairs).

Who else can come up with marshmallow-eating giraffes and hide-and-seek foxes?? So fun.

I’m waiting ’til we move to our new place and can finally design a proper children’s room to choose the next additions to our Parn collection – but in the meantime had to share this gem of an artist with others. It can be tough to buy art on line, but I can promise that you’ll be thrilled with what comes in that Etsy package. And at 20 bucks a pop, it’s probably the most affordable cool art (other than the stuff they bring from pre-school) you’ll find for your kids.

February 5, 2011 at 11:23 pm Leave a comment

Moomah: a creative haven/cafe for families in Tribeca

You won’t often hear me say that a weekend trip downtown with a toddler in the subway is worth it. But this one was – and we now have a brightly-colored canvas made by our 1.5 year old son to prove it.

I’ll be honest: the website left me confused about the unique Moomah concept. But here’s how I’d describe it, in a nutshell. You show up whenever it’s open, sit down for some really nice, casual food and drink with your kid(s), then watch as the kids escape to explore either the many art project options on display or the “Funky Forest” – a dark room with interactive animations projected on the wall that’s extremely minimalist yet bizarrely appealing to little people of all ages. When you’re ready, you pick an art project (we did the $25 canvas painting), and an ultra-friendly staff member will get you set up with smock, paint, brushes, and whatever other gear you need or fancy.

Then there are loads of workshops and other scheduled activities you can do, but I think the beauty of it is that you can just pop in whenever you have a spare couple hours, and be sure that even your tiny, curious toddler won’t get in trouble as he bobs around while you at least half-relax to enjoy your almost-grown-up cafe experience.

Rumor has it Leonardo DiCaprio was there the week before us. So, add celebrity sightings to the list of happy Moomah experiences.

January 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment

Free White Noise

There are loads of things I love about living right on Broadway. Watching the crowds. Showing Oliver the cars and buses driving past. Having Pinkberry across the street, and loads of cafes and restaurants within a one block radius. Free jazz concerts every night, and even Alleluja man.

But the noise is a killer. I don’t mind it myself, but when we’ve spent hours getting Oliver to sleep and then managed to creep out and shut the door behind us, only to have a honking truck or fire engine siren roar past and leave him screaming for dear life – on those nights, Broadway makes me very upset. And it’s a pretty regular occurrence.

People suggested noise machines, and a friend really talked up the Brookstone one. I was one click away from dishing out $100 for it – and then my husband suggested checking the iTunes store.

Brilliant idea! Within minutes, I had myself a totally free app (White Noise Lite, it’s called – and it seems to be available to BlackBerry, too) that plays:

  • Chirping crickets
  • Crashing waves
  • Chugging trains
  • Rainstorms

…and those are just my top noises. You can upgrade to a paid version but this one is working out great. And there’s something pretty magical about walking into your city bedroom to hear crickets chirping away. I think I’m sleeping better now, too.

I’ve loaded the app on the iTouch because if someone calls the iPhone while it was chirping away, it would definitely cause more distress than the sirens. So we’ve hooked up the Touch to some cheapo speakers – and can now transport ourselves to the Caribbean or the woods any time we please. For free.

March 2, 2010 at 2:40 am Leave a comment

Baby Food from Around the World

Every week, I come up with what seems like a brilliant business idea for baby stuff – and every week I discover that someone else thought of it first. Most recently, for example, I thought about writing a baby cookbook with recipes from around the world. I was going to make my millions on this. But alas – it already exists. Food Adventures is a cookbook for “introducing your child to flavors from arond the world” and it looks mighty tasty. Just got it at Book Culture on the Upper West Side (114th and Broadway) for a mere $7.

And it turns out you can buy jarred baby food with an ethnic twist, too! For that, there’s World Baby Foods (also available on Amazon) with flavors that are more like what we the parents eat for dinner: Thai, Indian, etc. We’re ordering our first box today – very excited to see what Oliver thinks!

January 13, 2010 at 7:58 pm Leave a comment

A Perfect Big Apple Baptism

When we were moving to New York, we knew pretty much nothing about pretty much everything. And it would have been helpful to get some tips on some of the major things on our white-board To-Do list, such as “Baptize the baby.” So here is our very sincere recommendation for a great church our Godmother-to-be found in downtown Manhattan. It’s Episcopal. We’re Russian Orthodox and Protestant and got married in an Anglican church, so we were looking for a place that was welcoming and open and perhaps close to Anglican, which is as far as we’ve experienced close to everything.

We had the baptism at The Church of the Transfiguration – which sweetly dubs itself “The Little Church Around the Corner.” It’s beautiful inside and out (and, in true Manhattan style, set among more modern and tall and industrial buildings – a real Big Apple landscape).

There’s a lovely courtyard in front that I’m sure would be a great mingling or reception place on warmer days (we had the baptism on a frosty November day). Bishop Andrew St. John is one of the warmest, friendliest priests we have met in NYC – and happens to have a great sense of humor and charming Australian accent. A week before the baptism, I met with him to go over the entire service. Services here can be on the longer side (this was the last one before advent so it was one of the longer ones and I think it all lasted about 1.5-2 hours), with baptisms about half-way through. There was another baby being baptized at the same time, though sometimes there can be as many as seven. It all went very smoothly – it helped that we all arrived early with our Godparents in tow so we all knew what to expect and where to walk and what to say in unison.

In case anyone is wondering about special baptism clothes: the whole idea occurred to us 2 days before the event (we’re a spontaneous family). Everything online was a) expensive and b) took a loooong time to get delivered. So we went to Toys R Us in Times square and got Oliver dress pants and a white dress shirt and tiny little black velvet boots and a bow-tie (yes, it was awesome – he looked like a little 007) – and it all cost under $30 – about a quarter of the price of gowns he would never wear again. He wore the outfit again for Christmas and New Year’s, and looked trendy as could be, so we’re happy. Andrew St. John was happy too – he saw no need for special gear.

What to do after the baptism…

…if you don’t feel like dragging baby to a mid-town restaurant? Our party of 15 came back to our apartment and had a very informal party with catered food from Whole Foods at Columbus Square – another experience I can highly recommend. Whole Foods can do no wrong, it seems. Their antipasti and sandwiches and cakes were perfect for the occasion.

January 11, 2010 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

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